Ep 83: The West: On the Cusp of a MegaDrought – with guest Dr. Kasey Bolles

With the wildfires in California, extreme insect infestations in forests, and the duration between rainstorms lengthening, the western United States is in the midst of a drought.  But this drought could be the part of something larger – a so-called “megadrought”, which the United States has not seen the likes of for four hundred years.

Megadroughts themselves are large events – ones that can last hundreds of years.  Modern American culture has never seen a megadrought.  How will this affect giant cities with millions of inhabitants – Phoenix, Los Angeles, Albuquerque, or businesses that call the west home?  How will they respond to a drought that goes on for decades?

Today I welcome Dr. Kasey Bolles on the podcast.  Kasey is an interdisciplinary climate scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory’s Tree-Ring Lab.  She focuses on understanding how changes in water availability play out at the Earth’s surface and impact human health, culture, economy, and society.  She joins us today to explain why scientists think the western United States is on the cusp of a megadrought, how droughts have affected society in the past, and what we can do about it if the current drought continues not for years, but for decades.

For patrons of this podcast, check out the bonus content at Patreon.com.  You’ll find a mini podcast episode where Kasey explains how tree rings can tell us more about Native American culture and history and amazing historical images of the Dust Bowl.  If you are not a patron and want to become one, you can sign up at Patreon.com.  Thank you for you support!

Some of the background music you heard are clips from:

The Sky of our Ancestors by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4510-the-sky-of-our-ancestors
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Ave Marimba by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3396-ave-marimba
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

The Long Goodbye by John Pazdan (c) copyright 2008 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/flatwound/14476

Longing for Tumbleweeds by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2011 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/admiralbob77/33347 Ft: snowflake

Amazing Plan by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3358-amazing-plan
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

MILLENNIALS by Analog By Nature (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/cdk/57150

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